Rising Mobile Money Fraud Threatens Financial Inclusion Efforts in Ghana

Ghana – The increasing prevalence of mobile money fraud in Ghana poses a significant threat to the strides made in achieving financial inclusion, particularly among those in the informal sector. This issue has become a matter of concern as mobile money, once hailed as a transformative tool for financial services, now faces challenges due to fraudulent activities.

According to Ghana News Agency, Imarc Group on Ghana’s Mobile Money Market, the market size of mobile money in Ghana reached US$121.8 billion in 2022, with projections to hit US$590.7 billion by 2028. By the end of 2022, approximately 56.7 million mobile money wallets were created, with 20.5 million being very active. The simplicity and accessibility of mobile money transactions have made it an attractive option even for uneducated individuals in rural areas.

However, the Bank of Ghana reported a total of 12,166 cases of mobile money fraud in 2022, highlighting a significant threat to the system’s integrity. Mobile money fraud is defined as the intentional action by players within the mobile financial services ecosystem to gain illicitly. It includes various types, such as fake promotions, wrong transfer requests, SIM card swaps, fake product deliveries, and posing as fake servicing agents.

The challenges in combating mobile money fraud are manifold. The primary issues include weaknesses in regulatory enforcement by the Bank of Ghana and the National Communication Authority, lack of cooperation from mobile operators, high illiteracy rates among victims, and the role of greed in making people susceptible to scams.

To combat mobile money fraud, various measures are suggested for both operators and subscribers. Mobile operators are advised to enhance ‘Know Your Customer’ (KYC) practices, improve technological systems for transaction monitoring, and collaborate openly with stakeholders like law enforcement and banks. For subscribers, measures include protecting mobile devices and personal information, verifying the identities of callers and texters, monitoring wallet activities, and staying informed about new fraud trends.

The report concludes that if not addressed, mobile money fraud could derail years of progress made towards promoting financial inclusion in Ghana, causing not only financial loss to subscribers and providers but also damaging the reputation of the service and trust in the financial ecosystem.